July 4 fireworks to go on despite Angora fire | TahoeDailyTribune.com

July 4 fireworks to go on despite Angora fire

Susan Wood

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun

Tourism officials got their biggest endorsement Wednesday for visitors to frequent South Lake Tahoe for its busiest July 4 holiday, despite having the 3,100-acre Angora fire half contained.

As of Wednesday evening, the fireworks show will go on, and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged people to come up to see the festivities during an appearance at the fire site.

Some have questioned whether having the fireworks show is a good idea if there’s a danger in sparking an already volatile fire situation. Residents are trying to recover from one of the worst disasters in the Lake Tahoe Basin in which 229 homes were destroyed but no one was killed.

“People have called saying: ‘I hope you’re not going to have the fireworks,'” Harrah’s Lake Tahoe spokesman John Packer said. “But in 22 years, we haven’t had a fire.”

He contends the economy needs to get back on its feet. July is one of the biggest months for tourism revenue at the lake — with motel room tax revenue to the city topping $1 million in most years.

The show called Lights on the Lake — in which fireworks are set off a barge on Lake Tahoe — is billed as the largest one west of the Mississippi River.

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Patrick Kaler, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, insists the show would lift the spirits of the people in the region and demonstrates “Lake Tahoe recovery is under way.”

That’s if all goes as planned with a fire containment date slated for July 3.

“If there are high winds, it (isn’t) going to happen. Safety comes first,” Packer said.